Quick thoughts and takes on every Week 4 Big 12 game.
Baylor 21, Rice 13
That’s not the Baylor team was supposed to roll. The Rice defense did a nice job, but the offensive explosion wasn’t there in the second half – the Bears were shut out – and there wasn’t nearly enough of a ground game. Charlie Brewer threw for 303 yards and a score, and the O came up with almost 200 more yards than Rice, but there were too many empty drives. On the plus side, the defense was solid … but it was Rice. The offense has to be sharper against Iowa State next week.
West Virginia 29, Kansas 24
Kansas ALMOST pulled off something way too amazing with a last gasp hook-and-ladder play that made it interesting. It was a loss, and there are no moral victories after the way the team played at Boston College last week, but the team played well in a good game. Don’t dismiss how important it is to merely be more than just competitive. Carter Stanley was good, hitting 19-of-25 passes for 275 yards and three scores with a pick, the running game worked, the defense got into the backfield, and again, this looked and played like a real team. However …
West Virginia didn’t turn the ball over and Kansas did – twice. The Mountaineers always had the ball – keeping it for almost 38 minutes – and grinding out the running game enough for Martell Pettaway to come through when needed in his limited work. The air show isn’t ever going to be like it was over the last few years, but Austin Kendall was effective. Going to Kansas and getting a win is now difficult – and WVU survived. However, the offense pop has to come to keep up with Texas next week.
Iowa State 72, ULM 20
Now there’s the Iowa State offense stretching its legs after an ugly first two games. The Cyclones needed this to show off the offensive potential with the Big 12 season kicking in next week at Baylor. Brock Purdy took downfield target practice – he averaged over 16 yards per throw – to go along with three rushing scores for a passing game that finished with 444 yards. Don’t get hung up over the 425 yards and decent balance allowed to the Warhawk offense – Caleb Evans is as dangerous a quarterback as the Cyclones will deal with.
SMU 41, TCU 38
Really, TCU … REALLY? SMU might have a better offense now, and Shane Buechele is a Big 12 quarterback playing in the American Athletic Conference, but the defense that shut down Purdue and really is fantastic couldn’t come up with enough big stops early on.
The O had to scramble and was able to pick it up late, but the three turnovers – and not going for the potential game-tying field goal from around 50 yards – were just enough overall to be the difference. Darius Anderson ran for 161 yards and two scores, but at some point the Horned Frogs need sharper quarterback play – Max Duggan hit just 18-of-36 passes.
Texas 36, Oklahoma State 30
Texas knew it was going to be in for a firefight, and it passed the test. The defense might never be a rock, but it did enough in the second half to let Sam Ehlinger and the bunch get a cushion, and it was a must after OSU made it interesting late.
Keontay Ingram continues to save the running game – 114 yards on 21 tough carries – and Ehlinger was brilliant, completing 20-of-28 passes for 281 yards and four scores with a pick, and with 70 yards on the ground. This will just be how Texas lives. It’s going to have to survive in shootout after shootout, but it might get a bit of a break with West Virginia up next before ealing with Oklahoma.
There were a few too many stalls in the second half as Oklahoma State couldn’t quite keep up the pace, but it kept pushing. Spencer Sanders and Chuba Hubbard each ran for over 100 yards – Hubbard ground out a brutish 121 yards and two score on 37 carries – and the passing game was solid, but the explosion wasn’t quite there. Even with the offense missing its normal pop, it still came up with just four fewer yards than Texas and went toe-to-toe with an elite team in Austin.